State Sen. Dan Schoen to resign over sexual harassment claims

Minnesota Sen. Dan Schoen's attorney confirmed Tuesday that the embattled state politician will resign over sexual harassment allegations first reported by the MinnPost earlier this month.

Paul Rogosheske said the announcement will come at a news conference Wednesday afternoon, with Schoen telling him that he "can't serve his district with this toxicity."

A Democrat who represents St. Paul Park and also works as a police officer in Cottage Grove, Minn., Schoen denies "ever making inappropriate contact with anyone," though the police department put Schoen on leave until the allegations could be investigated.

The accounts of harassment came from several women, including state Rep. Erin Maye Quade, DFL-Apple Valley, former DFL candidate Lindsey Port and a Senate employee, prompting several high-profile colleagues to call for his resignation, including the governor and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk.

Maye Quade reported that she received a series of inappropriate text messages from Schoen with unwanted advances when she was working for U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, repeatedly asking her if she wanted to get a drink with him and suggested she come over when his children were not home.

In the wake of Tuesday's announcement, Maye Quade released a short statement saying that despite the resignation, she wants Schoen to admit wrongdoing.

"Worse than the harassment is that the men who harass me won't acknowledge that their behavior is wrong," she said. “One senator's resignation does not change the culture. I want to change the culture."

Port, who first met Schoen at a networking event while she was a candidate for the state House in the Burnsville area, also told MinnPost he made several comments on her body and at one point grabbed her buttocks from behind.

“Yep, yep," Schoen said, according to Port. "That’s a good door-knocking ass.” 

After the first two reports surfaced, a Senate DFL Caucus Human Resources report was filed over another alleged incident in which Schoen sent a Snapchat picture of male genitalia to Ellen Anderson, a DFL staff member at the time.

At Wednesday's news conference Rogosheske said he and Schoen plan to dispute Port's claims and share information showing that the texts Schoen sent to Maye Quade were taken out of context.

In the wake of Schoen's resignation, Gov. Mark Dayton has 35 days to call for a special election in the competitive southeastern metro district, which is represented by two Republicans in the state House of Representatives. The Republican party currently holds a one-seat majority in the state Senate.